Sunday, November 15, 2015

to the world and back

Isn't it possible: you were created for such a time as this?

We say this every generation; because
every generation needs someone, or thousands,
or all of us, to say:


War is an old story, after all, oft' retold.
Voices rally and change begs for completion.
Hope stirs quietly on our edges.

On edge, held breath, our voices leave our throats
and sound
like someone else's pain;
storied tragedies now our realities and we fight
to heal our world


And yet, in our midst, there are those
who would split themselves in two
if only it means the world and others in it
might break apart, too.

We are inherently evil, it seems;
because we'd kill the killer, if only to make him stop.
We'd end the Torturer's reign,
by whatever means would have her drop
six feet under
or onto another planet
made of eternal fire
wherein the innocent are never subject to torture.

But the only planet we have access to is the one we're on.
Yet we break her,
fill her rivers with blood,
build our lives at her expense and without thought.

How great is our pain?
Not greater than those
who step t'ward bodies
with memories that ache
for the times they knew
before we knew of their deaths;
the sound of a suicide bomb,
the feel of a shot to the chest;
before we knew how to count bodies.

We bury the dead and leave heart pieces with them,
pray them off to eternal rest
beg mercy from the heavens
hold funeral processions
and hope those, too, don't end us.

Lord, Have Mercy on us all.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

in a New York-sized marathon

I have a deep appreciation for Solidarity; that moment which, all encompassing, joins the greater body of people into one swaying, cheering, singing mass of happiness or purpose. Concerts. Olympic stadiums. Movements. Universality.

So when we walked up to the edge of the 17-mile mark of the New York Marathon, and heard the street-lining crowd cheering the running thousands, I got choked up. I cried, hand-over-heart. All of these people with one focus, all of those feet hitting pavement to reach a goal. More emotion struck as we moved from there, over to the 24-mile mark. Almost finished, so much behind.

I watched these people run and I saw that we can choose how to approach yet another lengthy mile. With interest, attention to the details ahead. With grief, at the many miles of road already gone. Shoulders slumped, or straightened. Heart alight despite the pain, or swallowed by it. Running and finishing both require us to to breathe in, let old air out, and keep our eyes forward, feet steady. This race requires us to be well.

It is my hope, then, that I can be well. And in the meantime, hear the sidelines cheering (though I may have made them up). It seems I'm yearning for solidarity in the mundane, the relief of encouragement in the stuff of every day life. I suppose I want to know that if I stop, if I don't make it to this one's finish line, there'll be hands and arms to catch me, offer me water, lay me on the stretcher and take me home. And, I guess, I find myself praying I'm ready for the race of my very own life.

Purpose is as you accept it. Meaning, the same. Fault and failure belittle, so long as you take them on your way. So let them go. Listen to the Greater, to the call. Hear the voices that don't shame you, at all. Be in solidarity with yourself; be your self-doubts own worst enemy. Put foot to pavement; that finish line is waiting, at the ready.

Toes in the sand: